Cycling Triathlon

What you need for your first Sprint Triathlon

All the training and all of the acquired equipment

“I registered to my first sprint triathlon, now what?”

Have you ever wanted to do 3 sports in one day? Have you ever wanted to push your limits? Do you want everyone you know to think you are crazy? Registering to a triathlon is the way to go. As I prepared for my first Ironman, I prepared myself by registering myself to a sprint triathlon to begin testing my limits in this wonderful sport. A sprint triathlon is an achievement of its own. You start off with a 500 meter open water swim, then you cycle 25km, and finish it off with a 5km run. Although there are much longer distances in triathlon, a sprint is highly competitive and best of all is that you can finish it and still have the rest of the day to do things!

In this article, I will reveal to you what I brought to my first sprint triathlon. I hope this will help you if you are not sure what you need and curious of the sport. This article assumes you have trained (or need the general knowledge) and you are capable to take this head on. This article reveals what I used and what I recommend.

Get yourself a triathlon wetsuit

In this picture, I am wearing the surfer wetsuit and below me is all the equipment I used for the race in a messy manor. Every race is different. This race allowed my bag to be in my transition spot. A towel was also brought but is not nessesary.

You may or may not need a wetsuit. For my first sprint triathlon, I went on amazon and ordered the cheapest wetsuit. It was around $100. It did and it did not do the job. I bought a surfer wetsuit and the material was completely different to a triathlon wetsuit. A surfer wetsuit is meant to keep you warm, that’s it. A triathlon wetsuit can keep you warm but its main purpose is to keep you buoyant which allows you to swim faster. Essentially, it helps you float on water. If you know you will love triathlon, I would suggest investing in one. If your swimming is bad, I would strongly suggest one as well. I ended up keeping my surfer wetsuit to train when the lake was cold and eventually bought a triathlon suit for the ironman. The difference was very noticeable. If you are a strong swimmer and have open water swimming training, you may not need it.

Get yourself swimming goggles

The goggles I used. The swim cap was provided for the race.

Swimming goggles are needed. Enough said. You need to be able to see what is in front of you while swimming in the open water with everyone around you. Get a good pair since you do not want them breaking during the swim.

Get yourself a road bike or triathlon bike

I had a road bike and if that’s what you have, that’s good enough. A triathlon bike is obviously acceptable but that costs a lot of money and it is very specific to the sport. If you have the money and see yourself doing more triathlons, invest in one and become the aerodynamic machine you are meant to become. You can also invest in tri-bars for your road bike to get in an aggressive aerodynamic position to get some advantages over the competition. While I did my first sprint triathlon I also saw hybrid bikes being used. This is a short race and you can do that option as well but it will slow you down. However, if you don’t have a road bike just use it. Check the rules of the race just in case. My friend bought a bike from Kijiji for $500.00. This is probably the most costly component of the sport but can still be somewhat budget friendly. IMPORTANT: Your bike should have a spare tube kit in case you get a flat. Learning this skill is important when riding your bike and racing!

Get yourself a Skinsuit

My Castelli Sanremo used after a hard training session. I loved the Skin-suit so much I bought another one. A hat is also helpful against the sun. Protect your skin!

I got myself a nice Castelli Sanremo tri suit and used it for my training sessions and for my first race. A skin suit is what will be underneath your wetsuit. You finish the swim and as you remove the wetsuit during the transitional stage, the skinsuit will begin to reveal itself (picture Clark Kent going from business to superman). The skinsuit will be used during the cycling and running portion of the race. These things can range from $100.00 to $600.00. You can get very cheap ones on amazon or you could be like capitalistic Jay (that’s me) and look for the best brands to look good, get aero gains, have non-chafing material, look stylish, and most importantly look and feel pro.

Get yourself running shoes

The adidas x continental is used for the sprint triathlon. Nothing special. Just running shoes. also used for olympic triathlon and Ironman

If you’re on a budget, you can use the shoes that you currently have. You don’t have to get the latest and greatest shoes for the run. A 5km is doable in almost any shoe. I used the running shoes that I had for the last two years and they did the job. It is best to race with what you have been training with. Buying new shoes a week before the race is not recommended, you are more likely to get injured by doing that.

Racing belt (Optional but strongly recommended)

This image shows the pins attached the skin suit

When you register to a triathlon, you put a bunch of stickers that show your race number. The stickers go on your bike, helmet, and there is a also one that gets put on yourself. Buying a belt allows you to put on the tag which makes it easier to transition from the swim to the bike and bike to the run. If you do not get this, they usually provide pins that you attach to your skin suit. I’m hoping the picture makes sense of the belt.

This image shows the belt used during an ironman

Something to keep in mind + optional stuff

This sport is addicting if you love challenging yourself and absolutely love fitness
  • Cycling computer (Strava app is good enough if you’re on a budget)
  • Fitness watch (strava app is good enough if you’re on a budget)
  • A water bottle for the ride
  • Hat
  • Cycling gloves
  • Nutrition (usually provided during run)
  • Towel
  • Sun screen

I wanted this article to not overwhelm you but to show you the absolute essential equipment you need to finishing your first sprint triathlon. You will realize that once you start training, you will slowly start obtaining these items. To further explain, you need to train in all of these sports and as you train, you will slowly acquire these items one at a time. You do not need to get them all at once. You can start running and use your original shoes. You can start riding with any bike available to you before buying a road bike and just aim at achieving 25km rides. You can be like me and focus heavily on the swimming by just going to your gym’s pool. What I am saying is, what are you waiting for? You read this far, I will see you in the finish line champ.

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